Guns are 85% more lethal than any other
means used to commit
suicide. Gun Free South Africa urges gun owners to be responsible during
Teen Suicide Prevention Week (16-22 February 2014) and hand in their guns to the
police for destruction.
Gun Free South Africa’s spokesperson, Adle
Kirsten, "There are different ways to help prevent suicides, but one step
is clear; reducing a suicidal person’s access to a lethal weapon helps save
Just a week ago a double tragedy rocked St
Alban’s College in Pretoria when a Matric pupil shot and killed himself; after
which his mother, apparently unable to deal with her son’s death and using the
same firearm, shot herself.
Read: Worried about your teen committing suicide? Look out for these warning signs
If there hadn’t been a gun in the family
home it’s likely that both these deaths
could have been prevented.
teens know the hiding place
This is so even if the gun was stored in a
safe as required by law; as most teenagers know their parents’ hiding places so
would know where to find the safe’s keys.
Guns are lethal. They’re quick. And they’re
irreversible. Once the trigger is pulled, death usually follows within minutes.
do statistics say about guns and suicide?
Firearms account for 14% of suicides in
South Africa, with youth aged 15-29 years being most at risk for suicide (youth
make up 36% of suicide victims, followed by adults aged 30-44 at 33%).
There are four male suicides for every
female suicide. Latest research in America shows that people living in homes
with guns are three times more likely to die from suicide compared to those
living in homes without guns.
suicides occur during a crisis
While efforts to prevent suicide usually
focus on the why people commit suicide, the how people attempt – the means they
use – plays a crucial role in whether they live or die.
Parents guilty of giving their kids loaded guns?
Over 70% of suicide attempts occur
impulsively, during a crisis. Putting time and distance between a suicidal
person and a gun may save a life.
"We urge gun owners to proactively
prevent teen suicides by handing their guns in to the police for destruction,"
says Kirsten, noting that in the USA nine out of ten people who survive an
attempt do not go on to die by suicide later.
Everything you need to know about guns
Experts say guns really do increase suicide risk
Teen suicide: Why do they want to die?